Solfege To Notes Translation

solfege to note names

Are you looking for more explanation on the solfege to letter equivalents?

Do you want easy reference tables to help you out? 

One of the best parts of solfege is how it helps you learn to sing and play in any key, but until you learn this skill well, it’s a tricky idea to connect solfege notes on the staff. 

We’re here to help you with this guide on solfege to notes

Translating solfege to notes isn’t hard to do. Look for the starting pitch in each major key and assign them solfege pitches according to the solfege scale starting with Do. For minor keys, start on La instead of Do. 

Learn more details and check out the easy-reference tables below. 

Solfege Vs. Letter Names

In this section, we’ll briefly go over what solfege notation is, what letter names are, and the pros and cons of each. 

Solfege Notation

Solfege is when you assign scale degrees to syllables invented hundreds of years ago. 

Using the same syllables across different keys allows you to develop better inner hearing and understanding of how the notes are related to one another and function in keys. 

For singers, solfege is an essential skill, helping many realize how to sing at sight without hearing it first. 

Learn more about how solfege works

Pros Of Solfege

Here are some of the most significant benefits of solfege: 

  • Helps you recognize recurring patterns in music
  • Develops your inner hearing skills
  • Assists in writing down the music you hear
  • Improves your ability to sing and play in tune
  • Gives an “instinct” in music which leads to better performance, composition, and improvisation

Cons Of Solfege

There aren’t any significant drawbacks to solfege, but here are some reasons people don’t use it: 

  • Takes time to convert pitches into solfege names at first
  • Words may seem disconnected and nonsense to some
  • Instrumentalists may not need them as much (though I’d disagree with this!)

Check out the purpose of solfege hand signs

Letter Names / Staff Notes

The letter names are assigned letters given to specific pitches on the staff. 

Regardless of the key, these notes stay the same. 

This was a critical standardization hundreds of years ago and allowed people from all over the world to play together and sound good. 

The letter names are defined by letters and numbers. 

The letters start on A and go through G. 

Once you reach G, it’s repeated back through A again. 

The numbers tell us the octave the letter is in. 

For example, the C in the middle of a piano is called C4. 

The next time C appears higher; it’s called C5. 

When it appears lower, it’s called C5. 

Check out this image for the letter names on the staff. 

solfege to letter names

Note: For this article, we won’t focus on the number part of the solfege to notes translation. 

Pros For Letter Names

  • Tells instruments what to play exactly
  • Helps everyone play on the same notes
  • Most people who read music use this first

Cons For Letter Names

  • Isn’t as useful for singers right away
  • Doesn’t help you to learn to change keys easily
  • Requires fluent reading abilities in different ways

Solfege To Note Names

Turning letter names to solfege doesn’t have to be hard. 

It just takes time and practice. 

In this section, we’ll talk about the process of converting notes to solfege and give useful reference images in all major and minor keys. 

The Process Of Converting Solfege To Note Names

The process is broken into 2 main methods: Major and Minor. 

Major Conversion

Look at the key the piece or song is in. 

The scale degrees are given numbers 1-8. 

1 and 8 are the same, just an octave or 8 steps apart. 

Each number is given a solfege pitch. 

Scale DegreeSolfege Syllable
1Do
2Re
3Mi
4Fa
5Sol
6La
7Ti
8Do

Minor Conversation

There’s some debate on the best way to convert minor keys. 

One method starts on Do and uses a lot of chromatic solfege

In my opinion, this method isn’t helpful. 

The other method starts on La. 

By starting on La (which is the relationship between major and minor anyway), we avoid almost all altered solfege. 

Scale DegreeSolfege Syllable
1La
2Ti
3Do
4Re
5Mi
6Fa
7Sol
8La

Solfege To Notes, Key By Key

Check out these images for the solfege to notes, key by key. 

Major and the relative minor keys are combined in each section. 

C Major / A Minor

For these keys, we’ll be looking at the base conversion where C = Do and A = La. 

From there, it’s simple. 

Check out the graphic. 

Letter NameSolfege Syllable
CDo
DRe
EMi
FFa
GSol
ALa
BTi
CDo

G Major / E Minor

For these keys, we’ll be looking at the base conversion where G = Do and E = La. 

From there, it’s simple. 

Check out the graphic. 

Letter NameSolfege Syllable
GDo
ARe
BMi
CFa
DSol
ELa
F#Ti
GDo

D Major / B Minor

For these keys, we’ll be looking at the base conversion where D = Do and B = La. 

From there, it’s simple. 

Check out the graphic. 

Letter NameSolfege Syllable
DDo
ERe
F#Mi
GFa
ASol
BLa
C#Ti
DDo

A Major / F# Minor

For these keys, we’ll be looking at the base conversion where A = Do and F# = La. 

From there, it’s simple. 

Check out the graphic.

Letter NameSolfege Syllable
ADo
BRe
C#Mi
DFa
ESol
F#La
G#Ti
ADo

E Major / C# Minor

For these keys, we’ll be looking at the base conversion where E = Do and C# = La. 

From there, it’s simple. 

Check out the graphic. 

Letter NameSolfege Syllable
EDo
F#Re
G#Mi
AFa
BSol
C#La
D#Ti
EDo

B Major / G# Minor

For these keys, we’ll be looking at the base conversion where B = Do and G# = La. 

From there, it’s simple. 

Check out the graphic. 

Letter NameSolfege Syllable
BDo
C#Re
D#Mi
EFa
F#Sol
G#La
A#Ti
BDo

F# Major / D# Minor (Gb Major / Eb Minor)

For these keys, we’ll be looking at the base conversion where F#/Gb = Do and D#/Eb = La. 

From there, it’s simple. 

Check out the graphic. 

Letter NameSolfege Syllable
F#/GbDo
G#/AbRe
A#/BbMi
B/CbFa
C#/DbSol
D#/EbLa
E#/FTi
F#/GbDo

Db Major / Bb Minor

For these keys, we’ll be looking at the base conversion where Db = Do and Bb = La. 

From there, it’s simple. 

Check out the graphic. 

Letter NameSolfege Syllable
DbDo
EbRe
FMi
GbFa
AbSol
BbLa
CTi
DbDo

Ab Major / F Minor

For these keys, we’ll be looking at the base conversion where Ab = Do and F = La. 

From there, it’s simple. 

Check out the graphic. 

Letter NameSolfege Syllable
AbDo
BbRe
CMi
DbFa
EbSol
FLa
GTi
AbDo

Eb Major / C Minor

For these keys, we’ll be looking at the base conversion where Eb = Do and C = La. 

From there, it’s simple. 

Check out the graphic. 

Letter NameSolfege Syllable
EbDo
FRe
GMi
AbFa
BbSol
CLa
DTi
EbDo

Bb Major / G Minor

For these keys, we’ll be looking at the base conversion where Bb = Do and G = La. 

From there, it’s simple. 

Check out the graphic. 

Letter NameSolfege Syllable
BbDo
CRe
DMi
EbFa
FSol
GLa
ATi
BbDo

F Major / D Minor

For these keys, we’ll be looking at the base conversion where F = Do and D = La. 

From there, it’s simple. 

Check out the graphic. 

Letter NameSolfege Syllable
FDo
GRe
AMi
BbFa
CSol
DLa
ETi
FDo

Final Thoughts

I hope the solfege to notes translation helps you on your solfege journey. 

With practice, it’ll come. 

Just take it one step at a time. 

You may also want to check out these 11 music lessons plans for elementary

Zach VanderGraaff

Zach VanderGraaff is a K-5 music teacher with Bay City Public Schools in Michigan. He's a Past-President of the Michigan Kodaly Educators and Executive Secretary of the Midwest Kodaly Music Educators Association.

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